With demand for protein increasing at 10 million tonnes per year, traditional protein farming is unsustainable. A sustainable food system will provide healthy food to people and create sustainable environmental, economic and social systems that surround food. 

Greening food production

The Haber-Bosch process revolutionised food production in the early 20th century by scaling up the production of ammonia, which is vital in fertiliser manufacturing, until the food grown in this way became enough to feed 40% of the world’s population. Now, however, work is underway by a team led by Glasgow chemists to enable ammonia to be made without using fossil fuel sources. The project aims to find new catalysts that will make the Haber-Bosch process more efficient; at the moment, it consumes around 2% of the world’s energy output and produces a similar proportion of its carbon dioxide emissions.

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Low-cost source of sustainable protein

3F BIO (ENOUGH) is a spin out from the University of Strathclyde and a member of the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC). They create sustainable protein from renewable resources and their purpose is to help tackle the combined issues of feeding a growing global population and the unsustainable impact of traditional protein farming. 3F’s production technology ensures their zero waste protein is made more efficiently than any of the competitor protein sources. Transforming production costs will be critical to move from being a premium vegetarian product to a mainstream lowercost source of sustainable protein for global populations. 

Batteries from vegetables

Nearly all of us take owning a mobile phone for granted. But the damaging effect of their lithium-ion batteries on the environment are notorious – the toxic chemicals used in their production can harm soil and water, food production and wildlife.

What if we could make these batteries from vegetables instead? A Glasgow-led team of engineers are working on making this a reality using materials such as corn, sugar cane and sugar beet to make more sustainable lithium-ion batteries capable of storing and delivering power more efficiently.

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Glasgow based Solasta Bio secures £1.3m to develop ‘green’ insecticides

A Glasgow University-spinout firm which is seeking to develop environmentally-friendly insecticides has secured £1.3m backing from its latest fundraising round to support the next stage of its bio-pesticides trials, it announced yesterday.

Solasta Bio claims to have developed the “world’s first” technology for insect control products that are based in nature rather than synthetic chemicals, and which aim to target insects while protecting other beneficial pollinators such as bees. The new funding injection will be used to take trials of the biopesticide from the laboratory into real-world settings, with a view to launching its products to market in 2027, the company said.

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College gardens support learning and environment

Five years on from City of Glasgow College welcoming students to its newly opened super campus, the college’s rooftop gardens are just one of the ways the college is finding success.

Transforming the external space on the fourth floor, the thriving organic vegetable garden produces vegetables which are used by the college cookery students, catering provider, and also supplies a local café.

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Online software to minimise food waste

Glasgow Caledonian University is looking to help create a new generation of chefs in a bid to curb the devastating impact food waste has on the environment. The University has been awarded funding to develop an online training course for young people working as apprentices in the hospitality and restaurant sectors.

The idea is to develop chefs who are aware of the impact food waste has on the environment and who can then implement practices in the kitchen to tackle it. The two-year Europe-wide project, which has received £180,000 funding from Erasmus+, is being led by Professor Jim Baird and Dr Charles Russell of the Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental Management. 

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